|Environment||Open fields, large subterranean caverns and ruins|
|Lifespan||~150 Vuunegan years|
|Locomotion||Thick legs; however, it can also swim if need be|
|Personality||Highly social pack fauna|
"Archaeotherium — The most ancient of all creatures upon Vuunega, they are incredible survivors. They possessed some sort of relationship with the now-extinct Zomm."
The Archaeotherium (pronounced \ɑːr.ˈkeɪ.oʊˌ.θiː.riː.ʌm\) is one of Vuunega's megafauna, and is possibly the planet's best success story: They existed during the time of the Zomm, and somehow continue to survive.. Archaeotheriums are K-strategists, and, like other K-strategists, have great longevity, low death rates, and few natural predators once they hit adulthood; however, they also have slow population grow rates.
They are extremely well-adapted to surviving — so well, in fact, that they have not needed to evolve since the Sulphura Period many millions of years ago, making them true "living fossils". Generally, they are terrestrial creatures, but prefer to take to subterranean habitats if given the chance. If the need arises, they can also go swimming, and are built to be able to hold their breath for over 2 hours at the surface, although this time obviously decreases with depth.
Scientific Classification Edit
- Domain: Monocentralis (Single-Nucleus Complex Organisms)
- Kingdom: Eomalia "Dawn Soul" (Eomalians — Preaurosian Eon's Fauna Life)
- Subkingdom: Tetradermata "Four Skins" (Eomalians with 4 Germ Layers)
- Infrakingdom: Setamorpha "Setae Form" (Setamorphs — Covered in setae during at least one stage of life)
- Superphylum: Cloacus (Cloacans — Blastophore becomes cloaca)
- Phylum: Notozoa "Node Life" (Eomalians with Notochords)
- Subphylum: Vertebratia "Vertebrate" (Vertebratians — Notozoans whose notochords have stiffened into vertebrae)
- Infraphylum: Jowestomia "Jaw Mouth" (Jawed Vertebratians)
- Superclass: Quadpodia "Four Limbs" (Quadpods — Four-Legged _____s & their descendants)
- Series: Amniovis "Amniotic Egg" (Quadpods possessing amniotic eggs)
- Class: Setaemalia "Setae Soul" (Setaemalians — Setae becomes fur)
- Subclass: Anovis "No Egg" (Setaemalians who lost shelled eggs in favor of giving live birth)
- Infraclass: Triogenitalis "Three Genitals" (Triogens — Anovids with three-pronged genitals in males and three openings in females)
- Superorder: Vuunidelphia (Vuunidelphians — Triogens with marsupiums)
- Order: Ultrazoa "Extreme Animal" (Ultrazoans — Vuunegan extremophile marsupialids)
- Suborder: Polyextremite "Many Extremes" (Ultrazoans with multiple extremophilic abilities)
- Family: Megaltherium "Great Beast" (Large polyextremites)
- Subfamily: Polycephaloceras "Many Head Horns" (Megaltherium with many horns)
- Genus: Archaeotherium "Ancient Beast"
- Species: Theionus "Sulphur" (Modern-day Archaeotherium)
- Binominal Name: Archaeotherium theionus
- Species Type: Warm-blooded Terrestrial Vuunidelphians
- Lifestyle: Social Opportunist
- Hunt/Forage Success Rate: 60% Forage (98% success rate), 30% Scavenge (60% success rate), 10% Hunt (40% success rate)
- Armor: The Archaeotherium are heavily armored creatures, covered nearly entirely in bony scutes. These scutes however are built specifically to allow flexibility, and only a few areas are left uncovered, such as the mouth, the area around their marsupium, the feet and lower leg bones, and the genital/cloaca area.
- Defenses: To Be Announced
- Weapons: To Be Announced
- Tools: With their legs designed to hold up their massive body weight, they must rely on their tongue alone to provide manipulative abilities. This tongue is not only long, but also possesses a prehensile tip for grasping.
- Method of Eating: Food items are pulled into the mouth by the prehensile tongue, and then masticated until malleable enough to slide properly down the esophagus, at which time it is swallowed. Once passing through the esophagus, it enters the stomach, and is broken down. It then travels into the three intestines, where all possible nutrients are extracted before it is ejected through the cloaca on the other end of the digestive system.
- Reproductive Rate: Sexual maturity is reached after 10 years. Reproduce during the summer months (this gives extra warmth for the birthed young, to better improve their chances of making it to the pouch).
- Gestation: 7 weeks then gives birth — young must then crawl their way into the mother's pouch to continue to grow and survive.
- Offspring Incubation: The young must stay in the pouch for 3.5 years before being able to walk on their own.
- Number of Offspring: 1 per litter — rarely, two are born; luckily, they long ago adapted a larger pouch to accommodate these occasions.
- Offspring Survival Rate (before age of maturity): 70% — because of the survival abilities of adult Archaeotherium, and the fact that they are Vuunidelphians and thereby raise their young in pouches for the first 3.5 years of their lives, few young die. Those that do perish are generally killed in one of four ways:
- By not making it to the pouch in time after birth before they starve to death.
- By predators exploiting the major weak spot in the mother's armor (such the pouch itself) to kill the mother.
- By being unlucky enough to be caught outside of the herd's defensive circle when major predators appear.
- Only about 1% die from falling in subterranean caverns.
- Singular/Plural: Archaeotherium / Archaeotheriums
- Eye Scutes: Covering their eyes are thick, bony scutes, which, when closed, protects the eyes from immediate harm. This prevents potential predators from bringing down Archaeotherium simply by blinding them.
- Large Lungs: Archaeotherium have large lungs for their size, which take up a large portion of their ribcage area. This allows them to swim when in danger or even to hold their breaths in toxic areas, to keep from asphyxiating on the poisons. However, they generally breathe much more often then this, on average taking up to 5 large breaths per minute.
- Long Tongue: The tongue of an Archaeotherium is very long, and possesses a prehensile tip, for grabbing grasses and leaves alike. This allows the Archaeotherium the ability to reach food that it otherwise couldn't reach due to its body design, thereby preventing potential starvation. It is rarely used for grasses, but is often used for picking leaves off of trees; it is never used when eating meat. When not in use, it slides into a specialized cavity underneath the throat, so that only the very tip of it remains out, to resemble a typical animal's tongue.
- Strong Stomach: Archaeotherium have large stomachs, which is the second largest organ in their bodies, minus the intestines. This allows for large quantities of food to be digested at one time. The stomach acids are also incredibly powerful, to allow for the breaking down of most materials, including metals. This is mainly an emergency strategy; if nothing exists to supply the Archaeotherium with the necessary minerals like iron it requires, it can ingest quantities of the actual mineral to obtain it.
- Sulphur Resistance: The very last known evolution obtained by the Archaeotherium line was a heavy resilience to the sulphuric saturations of the Sulphura Period. This allowed them to keep from going extinct, although the time was quite harsh for the species — this is when they began to move into subterranean areas en masse for protection against the saturation.